This month's issue of CBX features the National Adoption Month 2018 initiative. Read a message from Jerry Milner, Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau, that highlights the importance of adoption as well as finding ways to keep families together through primary prevention to reduce the need for adoption. The issue also includes other adoption resources for professionals working to help children and youth find safe, nurturing, and permanent homes.
- A Message of Thanks and a Call to Reduce the Need for Adoption
Written by Jerry Milner.
A successful adoption is a wonderful thing that should be celebrated. During this adoption month, I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to all the committed professionals that work hard every day to help find children and youth that cannot be returned home a safe and loving forever family. I know how hard the work is because I used to do it, first as an adoption case worker and later as an adoption supervisor. Although it has been many years, I often find myself reflecting on my time working on adoptions. After the smiles for the joyful times I remember the challenges. Recruitment was an ongoing struggle, there were simply not enough available families, and it was especially difficult to find families that were willing to open their homes to older youth. These challenges remain.
When I think about my time as an adoption worker I also recall time spent reading case files to learn as much as I could about the child or youth to help find a family that would best meet the child's needs. I also remember hoping to come across record of an overlooked relative, or a relative that perhaps was unable to be a resource for the child at some earlier point, but could now step up and fill the gap. Unfortunately, I do not recall that situation occurring. What I do recall in reading case files is the feeling that there were missed opportunities to help struggling parents, too few or the wrong kinds of resources to help hold families together, and children who moved from placement to placement. I remember reading about a lot of suffering, often prolonged.
As a field we did not know as much about the trauma of family separation. We were overly focused on physical safety to the detriment of social and emotional well-being, and as we still do now, we too often confused poverty for neglect. I find myself asking a lot of what ifs about certain adoption cases. What if we were able to help the family sooner or in different ways? Could the need for adoption have been avoided in the first place? Knowing what we do now, I am incredibly optimistic that we can reach a point of practice where there is less cause for concern that we have not done enough.
Although this may be an unusual adoption month message, I firmly believe that doing better begins with working to reduce the need for adoption in the first place. A robust national focus on primary prevention will help us strengthen families and keep them together, lessening the need for adoption. Where birth parents and children cannot remain together, a clear national priority on kinship care, relative placement, and guardianship can help reduce the need even further. Where placement with a relative is not possible, a national commitment to community-based foster care would also help mitigate trauma, by keeping children in their communities, schools, and connected to all that is familiar.
Even where adoption is necessary, where safe and appropriate, we can also take steps to keep birth parents involved in their children's lives post adoption as additional caring adults. We must operate with the principle that when it comes to family and support—there is never too much. Even a parent that is unable to be involved in a child's life for some period of time can become an invaluable resource and support. For our older youth, some of whom have spent unacceptably long periods of time in care, we know the draw of family remains strong. We should honor that every way we can and continue to do all we can to repair, support, or build the relationships that all youth and young adults need to be successful adults.
So, let's celebrate, but at the same time let's also do everything we can to lessen the need for adoption.
To learn more about National Adoption Month, visit the National Adoption Month 2018 website at
- The Impact of Age in Postpermanency Discontinuity
Research shows that 1 to 10 percent of adopted children between age 18 and 24 months and close to 15 percent of children between age 10 years and the age of majority end up returning to state custody (i.e., experience postpermanency discontinuity). A recent article in the Journal of Adolescent and Family Health aimed to identify reasons why the rate of postpermanency discontinuity rises as children reach adolescence.
According to the study, there are several factors that may be related to postpermanecy discontinuity, including the information (or lack thereof) given to adoptive parents about the child prior to adoption, supports available to the family, the adoptive parent's expectations of his or her relationship with the child, the adoptive parent's satisfaction with the relationship, the adoptive parent's connection to religion or faith, and whether there are other children in the home. To gather data, researchers used a sample of 20 adoptive families receiving postadoption services who adopted a total of 45 children through the public child welfare system. A total of 30 children in the study were age 12 and younger, and 15 children were age 13 and older. Parents were of varied ages.
Focus groups were conducted with parents and child welfare staff. Participants answered questions on general demographic information (e.g., name, age, race), and:
- How long they had been adoptive parents
- What made them want to adopt
- What they thought was the most rewarding/challenging part of adopting
- Whether they ever thought about ending the adoption and why
- Whether they were aware of the postadoption services available to them
- Where they would turn in 5 to 10 years' time if they should encounter challenges with their adopted children
In general, the families were divided into those whose adoptions were going well and those who were facing significant challenges.
Data analysis showed that the primary explanation for the increase in discontinuity as the child gets older is due to whether the family was internally protected or externally influenced. Internally protected families were able to take control of their situations and make decisions in the best interests of the family as well as protect their families from outside influences. Externally influenced families reported an inability to limit the influence of outside forces that affected their children's adoption experiences, such as involvement with school and law enforcement as a result of children's behavioral issues, which seemed to increase as the child got older.
The article also includes implications for practice, including the need to prioritize ongoing support for adoptive parents that will help them manage external issues that could affect continuity.
"The Evolution of Challenges for Adoptive Families: The Impact of Age as a Framework for Differentiation," by Nancy Rolock, Joan M. Blakey, Megan Wahl, and Amy Devine (Journal of Adolescent and Family Health, 9), is available at https://scholar.utc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1059&context=jafh (PDF - 411 KB).
- Creating Effective Public Child Narratives for Children Waiting to Be Adopted
In the past, the adoption field has used public profiles such as photolistings, Wednesday's Child features, and Heart Galleries as a means to connect children waiting for safe, permanent homes with prospective parents. Although major technological advances, such as the Internet, have happened in the years since these public profiles were first launched, little has changed about how the adoption field portrays children who need families.
AdoptUSKids released a guide intended to help adoption professionals create compelling public child narratives, including what information to include and what not to include, what information can be shared through private narratives, and how to best present that information to ensure the best outcomes for children waiting to be adopted.
The guide provides a new framework for portraying children who need families that prioritizes children's safety, dignity, and privacy and uses strengths-based narratives with positive, descriptive information and up-to-date, appealing photos. It also acknowledges that information sharing happens on a continuum: only positive information is provided to the public, more general information about diagnoses and challenges is only provided to prospective parents who have participated in a home study, and more specific information is provided to prospective parents seriously considering placement.
Creating Effective Narratives for Children Waiting to Be Adopted is available at https://www.adoptuskids.org/_assets/files/AUSK/Publications/AUSK_CreatingEffectiveNarratives_Booklet_final-web-508.pdf (1,041 KB).
- Training for Adoption Competency
Children awaiting adoption, as well as children who have been adopted, have an increased risk for mental health issues and often need mental health services. Mental health professionals, however, often lack enough adoption-competency training, leaving a void in support services for adoptive families with children with mental health problems.
An article in the Journal of Contemporary Social Services evaluates the Training for Adoption Competency (TAC) program, an advanced training program for licensed mental health professionals that was produced by the Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.). The TAC training consists of 12 modules focusing on topics such as clinical issues in planning; clinical issues in working with birth and adoptive families; preparing for and supporting adoption; trauma and brain neurobiology; and integrating adoption competencies into practice. In addition, the TAC program includes six monthly clinical case consultation sessions facilitated by expert clinicians and designed to help integrate the training components into practice; a trainer credentialing and support process; a weeklong in-person orientation; ongoing supportive technical assistance; and an ongoing multicomponent evaluation examining training delivery, effectiveness, and outcomes.
For the purpose of the study, researchers evaluated the following aspects of TAC using data collected from 900 TAC participants:
- Training delivery—This was assessed using feedback from trainers and participants collected at the conclusion of each module.
- Training effectiveness—This was assessed using a 34-item pre- and posttest based on the curriculum content given to participants as well as to a group of comparably qualified clinicians.
- Training outcomes—These were assessed using surveys administered during the middle of the training and at the end of the training as well as through self-assessments.
Based on the evaluation, researchers found that TAC fully incorporated the aspects of competency-based learning and was delivered with fidelity at each training site included in the evaluation. Further, TAC was shown to improve adoption competency among health-care professionals and allowed them to view their practice through an "adoption lens."
Upon completion of the training, participants are invited to be listed on the C.A.S.E. website so families and others who refer adoptive families for mental health services can easily find adoption-competent clinicians.
"Training for Adoption Competency: Building a Community of Adoption-Competent Clinicians," by Anne J. Atkinson and Debbie B. Riley (Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 98), is available at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1606/1044-3894.2017.98.23.
- Preparing Adoptive Parents
Adopting a child is a lifelong experience that often involves challenging, complex, and evolving relationships between children, their birth families, and their adoptive parents. Preparing adoptive parents is key to ensuring not only the well-being of the adopted child but of the adoptive family as a whole. Adoption: Preparing Adoptive Parents is a brief intended for child welfare workers that discusses topics such as what preparing adoptive parents entails, desired outcomes of preparation, why preparing adoptive parents is important, social workers' responsibilities in preparing adoptive parents, and more.
According to the brief, preparing adoptive parents is a two-part process consisting of (1) educating prospective adoptive parents about the adoption process and the issues involved in adoption and (2) providing child-specific information, training, and support to help prospective parents successfully parent.
When preparing adoptive parents, professionals should keep the following goals in mind:
- Facilitate a self-assessment process for adoptive parents that helps them gauge their strengths and limitations and develop realistic expectations regarding adoption
- Prepare adoptive parents for the challenges of parenting an adopted child
- Ensure adoptive parents are aware of all the information regarding their adopted child so that they understand the short- and long-term implications of the child's mental health history, risk factors, and physical and developmental conditions
- Ensure that adoptive parents have the skills and support to provide a safe and stable home for the adopted child
To prepare adoptive parents, child welfare workers and other social workers should be aware of their agency's policies, procedures, and practices regarding preparing parents; assess the parent's learning style and barriers to learning; implement a plan for delivery of information; prepare child-specific information; and communicate any concerns regarding the adoptive parents' readiness to adopt with supervisors so that any concerns can be addressed accordingly.
The brief also includes adoption facts and statistics and a list of red flags child welfare workers should be aware of, such as looking out for postadoption depression among adoptive parents.
Adoption: Preparing Adoptive Parents is available at https://www.ebscohost.com/assets-sample-content/SWRC-Preparing-Adoptive-Parents-Sample-Content.pdf (144 KB).
Spotlight on Child and Family Services Review, Round 4
Spotlight on Child Welfare Workforce Development
News From the Children's Bureau
Read about the importance of implementing programs designed to serve both children and their parents and caregivers, federal efforts to prevent and respond to youth homelessness and human trafficking, a list of discretionary grants, and the latest additions to the Children's Bureau website.
- Programs Designed to Help Families Achieve Economic Security and Promote Well-Being
Policymakers and program leaders are seeking innovative approaches for dual-generation or two-generation programs. These programs serve both parents and children and can help move them toward economic security and promote child and family well-being. Overall, there has been a lack of rigorous evaluation of these programs. Mathematica Policy Research and Northwestern University conducted a project to identify common features of 52 dual-generation programs. The project, which was conducted for the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation within the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, studied the following six questions:
- How did the programs develop?
- How mature are these programs?
- Whom do these programs serve?
- What services do the programs provide to adults and children?
- How do the programs engage both parents and children?
- How do the programs fund their services for parents and children?
Researchers found programs for inclusion by reviewing lists of federal grantees from funding streams that support both family economic security and children's development and well-being, websites of foundations that fund programs with an integrated approach, membership lists of groups that support dual-generation programs and policies, and lists of programs identified through other Mathematica projects.
Results showed that most of the programs began by focusing on one generation and added services for the other later. They were mostly locally operated and have diverse funding sources, and many were still developing and refining their services and program models. Researchers can use these data to help identify the most promising qualities and strategies of these types of programs.
This brief, Features of Programs Designed to Help Families Achieve Economic Security and Promote Child Well-being, can be found at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/ib_environment_scan_v11_b508.pdf (800 KB).
- Discretionary Grants Forecast
The following forecasts for discretionary grants were approved and published to Grants.gov.
- HHS-2019-ACF-ACYF-CZ-1557: National Child Welfare Capacity Building Center for Tribes: https://go.usa.gov/xPPJv
- HHS-2019-ACF-ACYF-CZ-1558: National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention: https://go.usa.gov/xPPJw
- HHS-2019-ACF-ACYF-CA-1559: Community Collaborations to Strengthen and Preserve Families: https://go.usa.gov/xPPJG
- HHS-2019-ACF-ACYF-CW-1560: Supporting Interstate Placement through Electronic Systems: https://go.usa.gov/xPPJ7
- HHS-2019-ACF-ACYF-CS-1561: Standing Announcement for Tribal Title IV-E Plan Development Grants: https://go.usa.gov/xPPJs
- HHS-2019-ACF-ACYF-CW-1562: Quality Improvement Center on the Comprehensive Development of Quality Foster Family Homes: https://go.usa.gov/xPPJ6
- CB Website Updates
The Children's Bureau website hosts information on child welfare programs, funding, monitoring, training and technical assistance, laws, statistics, research, federal reporting, and much more.
Recent additions to the site include the following:
- National Adoption Month 2018 Website: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/adoption/nam/?utm_source=CBX&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=nam18
- Child Welfare Virtual Expo 2018 Sessions Now Available: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/news/virtual-expo-2018-sessions
- Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System Technical Bulletin #4: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/ccwis-tb4
- Adoption and Legal Guardianship Incentive Awards History: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/adoption-awards
- Housing's Critical Connection to Child Welfare—Part 1: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/child-welfare-podcast-housings-part1
Visit the Children's Bureau website often to see what's new.
- Report to Congress Details Federal Efforts to Respond to Runaway Youth and Homelessness
Federal efforts to prevent and respond to youth homelessness and provide services to victims of human trafficking are outlined in a recent Report to Congress from the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) within the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act of 1974 authorizes the following programs to provide shelter and guidance for runaway, missing, homeless, and exploited youth:
- Basic Center Program, for providing emergency shelter services to youth under age 18
- Transitional Living Program and Maternity Group Home Program, to help prepare older youth, expectant mothers, and homeless young parents for independent living and adulthood
- Street Outreach Program, to connect homeless youth with shelter and services
In each of fiscal years (FY) 2014 and FY 2015, Congress appropriated $114 million for these programs, which provide financial, emotional, and social resources through a network of support services. In FY 2014, these funds provided emergency shelter services to more than 30,000 young people and helped make contact with over 450,000 youth on the street. They also funded a national phone hotline, the National Runaway Safeline, as well as FYSB's coordinating, training, and research activities to prevent and respond to youth homelessness.
The following are findings and initiatives outlined in the Report to Congress:
- The phone hotline handled close to a combined 170,000 calls in FY 2014 and 2015.
- Seventy percent of the youth who stay in a basic center shelter return to the home of a parent or guardian.
- Transitional living programs served 3,000 youth in FY 2014, with 88 percent of youth who leave transitional housing returning to their families or finding other stable housing situations.
- Ninety percent of the youth receiving services from basic centers during FY 2014 reported that the primary reason they left home was due to a difficult family situation and 25 percent reported experiencing abuse and neglect.
- In FY 2014, 33 percent of the youth in basic centers reported mental health problems and 25 percent reported issues with drinking and/or drugs.
- FYSB is collecting data on four outcomes (safety, permanent connections, well-being, and self-sufficiency) to allow for more detailed outcomes findings in future reports to Congress.
- FYSB is emphasizing its commitment to the federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness by working closely with federal agencies to help adapt best practices in homelessness prevention and intervention to the needs of developing youth.
- FYSB is committed to assuming a key role in the Federal Strategic Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking by ensuring its grantees can expand their capacity to respond to youth trafficking through appropriate training and resources.
Report to Congress on the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015 includes detailed demographic data and real-life stories of the youth served by these programs.
The report is available at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/fysb/fy_2014_and_2015_rhy_report_to_congress.pdf (2,200 KB).
We highlight the behavioral health trends of U.S. high school students as well as the effects of parental depression on parenting ability.
- Effects on Toddler Self-Regulation in Child Welfare Services-Involved Families
Parents involved with child welfare for possible abuse or neglect of their children often have a history of adverse childhood experiences as well as high rates of depression and other characteristics that may affect their parenting abilities. A recent article in Infant Mental Health Journal focuses on parental depression and its effects on their parenting abilities as well as their children's ability to develop self-regulation, which includes the ability to focus attention; control emotions; and manage thinking, behavior, and feelings.
Researchers used a sample of 247 child welfare-involved families from the Supporting Parents Program. Participating families had toddlers between the ages of 10 and 24 months between January 2011 and January 2014 and were monitored by one of six collaborating child protective services offices within the prior 2 weeks.
The study examined the combined and mediated effects of parental adverse childhood experiences and depressive symptoms on parenting quality at three time points (T1, T2, and T3) during a 6-month period. During T1, toddlers and their parents were assessed during 2-hour home visits. Visits consisted of an interview; videotaped parent-child interactions, including a teaching task; free play; and a brief separation. T2, which occurred after an average of 3.83 months, was the first follow-up assessment. T3, which occurred after an average of 3.2 months after T2, was the third follow-up visit.
Findings from the study include the following:
- Sixty percent of the parents reported experiencing at least one type of adverse experience during their childhood and showed elevated depressive symptoms.
- Parental depression had mostly negative associations with child secure base behavior. A secure base refers to a positive, supportive, and nurturing relationship that helps children feel secure during times of distress. Parental sensitivity to distress was positively associated with secure base behavior in children.
- The association between parental depression and child secure base behavior was mediated by parenting sensitivity to distress cues but not sensitivity to nondistress.
- During the research visit, the parent was usually forced to split his or her attention between the interviewer and the toddler, which limited the child's access to the parent and caused the child frustration. This showed that child emotional regulation and secure base behavior were more strongly correlated than were emotional regulation and orientation or engagement.
"Parental Childhood Adversity, Depressive Symptoms, and Parenting Quality: Effects on Toddler Self-Regulation in Child Welfare Services-Involved Families," by Susan J. Spieker, Monica L. Oxford, Charles B. Fleming, and Mary Jane Lohr (Infant Mental Health Journal, 39), is available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5812360/pdf/nihms941100.pdf (765 KB).
- CDC Report Looks at Past Decade of Trends for Risky Youth Health Behaviors
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report assesses behavioral health trends of high school students across the country that pose serious risks to their health and well-being.
The report provides data from the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, routinely undertaken by CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health. The report breaks down data from the past decade by gender, by race, and for sexual minority youth. The survey focuses on the health behaviors and experiences in priority areas for CDC (i.e., those that contribute to sexually transmitted infections, unintended teen pregnancies, and adolescent morbidity)—sexual behavior, substance use, violence victimization, and mental health and suicide.
The following are examples of finding from the report:
- The percentage of high school students who ever had sexual intercourse declined from 47.8 percent in 2007 to 39.5 percent in 2017.
- The percentage of high school students who used a condom during their last sexual intercourse declined from 61.5 percent in 2007 to 53.8 percent in 2017.
- The percentage of high school students who ever used select illicit drugs declined from 22.6 percent in 2007 to 14.0 percent in 2017.
- The percentage of high school students who experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness increased from 28.5 percent in 2007 to 31.5 percent in 2017.
- The percentage of high school students who seriously considered attempting suicide increased from 14.5 percent in 2007 to 17.2 percent in 2017.
Youth Risk Behavior Survey: Data Summary & Trends Report 2007-2017 is available at https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/pdf/trendsreport.pdf (1,670 KB).
This section of CBX offers publications, articles, reports, toolkits, and other resources that provide either evidence-based strategies or other concrete help to child welfare and related professionals.
- Principles Aimed at Improving Outcomes for Children and Families
The Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University released a brief that highlights three principles that can guide decision-makers in choosing among policy alternatives, designing new approaches, and shifting existing practice in ways that will help lead to better outcomes for children and their families.
The following are the three principles:
- Support responsive relationships—This principle focuses on nurturing resilience and serve-and-return interactions between infants and young children and their parents and other caregivers. Serve-and-return interactions happen when an infant or young child "serves" (e.g., babbles, gestures, or cries) and an adult "returns" by responding appropriately (e.g., eye contact, words, a hug). These interactions help build and strengthen neural connections in the child's developing brain.
- Strengthen core life skills—These skills include executive functioning and self-regulation, which help the person to filter distractions, prioritize tasks, remember rules and goals, make healthy choices, and control impulses. They are important for learning and development.
- Reduce sources of stress—Excessive stress caused by poverty, community violence, substance use, or mental illness can have negative long-term consequences for children and families, which can trigger the body's stress response system. This can make it difficult to engage executive functioning skills and can lead to toxic stress, which disrupts healthy brain development.
The brief also provides suggestions on how these principles can be applied, such as using them to assess current policies and operations, evaluate proposed changes in policy or system operations, or to assist in developing new policies or program strategies to ensure healthy brain development in young children and to support the well-being of families.
3 Principles to Improve Outcomes for Children and Families is available at https://46y5eh11fhgw3ve3ytpwxt9r-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/HCDC_3PrinciplesPolicyPractice.pdf (408 KB).
- Building Teams for Effective and Sustainable Change
Written by the Children's Bureau's Capacity Building Center for States.
Organizational and systemic change rarely results from a single person acting alone. Addressing complex child welfare issues requires the collective efforts of individuals with diverse skills, roles, and perspectives, including the following:
- Child welfare staff such as agency leaders and decision-makers with a big picture view
- Managers with insight into programs and policy
- Data specialists who interpret the numbers and trends
- Supervisors and caseworkers in direct contact with children and families
- Caregivers and youth who have lived experience with agency services
- Leaders from the courts and community partners who share the agency's goals
- Other important stakeholders
How can an agency engage these groups to build a team that works effectively to support change and improve performance? The Center for States' brief, Change and Implementation in Practice: Teaming, can help answer that question. The brief provides agencies with teaming support to develop their Child and Family Services Plans (CFSPs), Program Improvement Plans (PIPs), prevention strategies, or other strategic improvement initiatives.
How Teaming Can Help Facilitate Positive Change
Putting together the team that will implement practice improvements in a child welfare system is a crucial early step in achieving successful change. Working in teams throughout the process can help in the following ways:
- Build internal capacity to manage change
- Ensure communication between agency leadership and other important stakeholders
- Guide implementation in a mindful way
- Plan for the sustainability of new practices, policies, and programs
- Foster buy-in for agency decisions and direction
- Build credibility for the change initiative
What Makes a Team Effective
To successfully support a change process at an agency, implementation teams should consider the following at the start of the teaming process.
- Identify the correct team size and composition—Two of the most important decisions team leaders make are which and how many people should be on the agency's change and implementation team. While there's no "right number," the team should have enough members to do the work, while staying as small as possible to facilitate communication. The most effective teams bring together agency personnel and stakeholders with a variety of roles, talents, perspectives, and skill sets. The team is not a static entity, and as the team's work progresses, the team's structure or the team members' roles may evolve. Though a single core team usually oversees the initiative's day-to-day work, separate subteams or workgroups may handle specific tasks.
- Write a team mission statement and charter—The starting point for building an effective team is identifying the team's purpose. This requires the development of a team mission statement—a short paragraph that describes the team's primary purpose and goals. Having a clear statement will help team members and stakeholders get on the same page regarding the team's aims. Once the team is assembled, team members should develop a team charter—a formal document that provides the foundation for the team's work. A team charter clarifies team objectives, roles and responsibilities, decision-making processes, working approach, and expected deliverables.
- Develop a communication plan and community outreach strategy—Developing a comprehensive, internal communication plan is critical for any successful team. To be effective, team members need to have regular opportunities to share their ideas, thoughts, and opinions and weigh in on vital decisions. An open communication plan helps build trust among team members, without which change and implementation work is much more difficult. The communication plan should also include an external communication and outreach strategy to share information with and seek input from community stakeholders. This will help create buy-in and enthusiasm for the change being implemented within the community being served.
Taking the time to create a strong and diverse implementation team provides a solid foundation for the overall work of achieving meaningful change. For more information about teaming and other change and implementation topics, visit the Change and Implementation in Practice web page on the Center for States website.
This section of CBX provides a quick list of interesting resources, such as websites, videos, journals, funding or scholarship opportunities, or other materials that can be used in the field or with families.
- New Tool Designed to Help Youth Self-Assess for Well-Being, Address Concerns
A new tool may help child welfare-involved youth gauge their individual well-being and develop an action plan for areas they would like to strengthen.
The Well-Being Indicator Tool for Youth (WIT-Y) was designed by the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare at the University of Minnesota to help youth aged 15-21 explore different aspects of their well-being. WIT-Y is for youth who are either currently or formerly involved with child welfare and consists of three components:
- An initial online assessment that measures well-being across eight separate domains (physical health, cognitive health, mental health, relationships, safety and security, environment, purpose, and community) with five possible levels of well-being (in crisis, just surviving, doing okay, doing good, and doing great) and detailed examples of what each level might look like for all of the domains
- A WIT-Y "snapshot" that gives youth a picture of their overall well-being based on their individual assessment
- A WIT-Y "blueprint" for helping youth take steps to increase their well-being based on what they learn from their snapshot
In the event that a youth self-reports that he or she is in crisis in any of the eight domains, they will see text on their screen that will alert them of resources that can help.
More information on the WIT-Y is available at https://cascw.umn.edu/portfolio-items/well-being-indicator-tool-for-youth-wit-y/.
- Guide for Protecting Your Child on the Internet
Technology is rapidly changing, and children and youth are getting internet-capable devices (such as tablets and smartphones) earlier and earlier. VPN Mentor has created The Ultimate Parent Guide for Protecting Your Child on the Internet to help parents navigate online through eight areas:
- Mobile phones and apps
- Streaming content and smart TVs
- Gaming consoles and online games
- Social media
- Privacy and information security
- Viewing inappropriate content online
- Online predators
In each section, the guide walks parents through each technology area, defining what it is and common benefits and concerns. It also offers sample rules and precautions parents can take as well as resources and tools to help parents keep their children safe online, such as links to tracking apps and ad blockers. The guide emphasizes establishing open communications with children as the best way to keep them safe on the internet.
The guide is available at https://www.vpnmentor.com/blog/the-ultimate-parent-guide-for-child-internet/.
Find trainings, workshops, webinars, and other opportunities for professionals and families to learn about how to improve the lives of children and youth as well as a listing of upcoming events and conferences.
Upcoming conferences and events on child welfare and adoption include the following:
- 2018 Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health 29th Annual Conference
National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health
November 13, Houston, TX
- AFCC 13th Symposium on Child Custody Guidelines and Standards and Rules, Oh My!
Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC)
November 810, Denver, CO
- Council on Social Work Education 64th Annual Program Meeting
Council on Social Work Education
November 811, Orlando, FL
- APHA's 2018 Annual Meeting & Expo
American Public Health Association (APHA)
November 1014, San Diego, CA
- 2018 Mandated Reporter Training
November 13, Grand Rapids, MI
- 4th Annual CQI Community Conference: In Pursuit of Quality: Building a Dynamic CQI Culture
Illinois CQI Community Group
November 2829, Champaign, IL
- ISPCAN Caribbean Regional Conference
International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect (ISPCAN)
December 25, Montego Bay, Jamaica
- Black Maternal Health Conference and Training Institute
Black Mamas Matter Alliance
December 79, Atlanta, GA
- SSWR 23rd Annual Conference
Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR)
January 1620, San Francisco, CA
- 2018 Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health 29th Annual Conference
- Openness in Adoption Training
Openness in adoption has many unique rewards and challenges for all members of the adoption triad. From providing the adoptees with a deeper understanding of where they come from to facilitating additional support and encouragement between both the birth and adoptive parents, there are several benefits to open adoption. There are also challenges that can arise.
The Donaldson Adoption Institute created a free, online curriculum, titled Openness in Adoption: What a Concept!, for individuals and couples who are seeking to adopt, have adopted, or have relinquished a child to adoption. This three-part curriculum is a mix of audio and video clips, questions, and exercises that users can complete at their own pace.
With an accompanying user guide that provides definitions, summaries of main points, and additional resources, this resource takes users through exploring, experiencing, and living openness in adoption. Each of the three sections is expected to take around 2 hours. Professionals who want to use this curriculum to train clients should contact the Donaldson Adoption Institute for a comprehensive trainer's guide.
The training also features an hour-long documentary, "Understanding Open Adoption," which highlights perspectives from adoption professionals and families who are experiencing open adoption.
The Openness in Adoption: What a Concept! curriculum and user guide are available at https://www.adoptioninstitute.org/openness/?mc_cid=ed2274b605&mc_eid=11c69c7a21.